With the New York Rangers offense struggling to generate consistently, as usual, to start the season the focus has shifted to specific players who are underachieving. The main player seeming to take the brunt of the discussion is Brandon Dubinsky, who has zero goals in the Rangers opening six games. Coming off a career year, plus a new contract, much is expected of Dubinsky offensively this season, so it is not surprising to see his lack of goals make him a target. Dubinsky being a target for the New York fan base is nothing new as he has been a consistent player turned to as underachieving over his career for whatever reason. What has always been more interesting is that while Dubinsky is normally taking heat, Ryan Callahan always seems to get a free pass and is getting one again from many who follow the team.
Dubinsky has zero goals and too many bad penalties, but he also has three assists while getting 19:09 of ice time per game. Callahan on the other hand has one point, a goal in the season opener, while playing 20:56 a night. Where are the cries of Callahan underachieving on his new contract as there are for Dubinsky? In the past Callahan’s free pass for lack of offense was always about the fact that he was bringing energy to the team through his hitting and shot blocking, but even that has been severely lacking this year, outside of the opener.
The fact is that both of the Rangers heart and soul forwards have failed to live up to the way they played last season and the contracts they got this summer so far. Their line, along with Artem Anisimov, after being the top line on the team last season seemingly has been left over in Sweden as there impact has been negative thus far. All three are struggling individually and together they are not the factor the Rangers need them to be if they are going to be successful.
Two years ago the Rangers had primary scoring and no secondary scoring. Last season all the secondary players had career years and the primary one, Marian Gaborik, had a down year. Now the Rangers have reverted to two years ago with Gaborik and Richards doing their part while secondary offense has dried up once again. The problem goes beyond Dubinsky and Callahan as Stepan, Fedotenko and Anisimov all have no goals and Brian Boyle has one, however the focus of the blame seems to be resting on the shoulders of Dubinsky alone. There is no justifiable reason to single him out while giving the rest a pass on their play thus far. They all need to be better if the Rangers are going to succeed this season, so let us hold them all accountable when they fail to do so.